One Dead After Ship Sinks Off Philippines

One crew member died after a cargo vessel sank off Batangas province in northern Philippines last Thursday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Friday.

The MV Sea Merchant, owned by a Philippine company, Fortune Sea Carrier Inc., sank while carrying 20040 bags of cement and en route to Antique from Bauan Port where they loaded 16000 liter of diesel oil.

Nineteen crew members of M/V Sea Merchant were safely rescued.

The passing M/T Mactan Island, rescued 11 crew members after it received the distress signal from the cargo vessel which sunk at the vicinity waters approximately five nautical miles southeast of Malabrigo Point in Lobo, Batangas at around 6:45.

According to Celso Rey Baiza, Chief Officer of M/V Sea Merchant, the vessel was navigating towards Dumali Point, Oriental Mindoro on 01 January 2014 at 2 PM, when it was battered by big waves and strong winds on its port.

The cement cargo shifted to the starboard side causing it to list by 10 degrees. The Master ordered his chief mate to arrest the list by shifting the ship’s heading while the engine crew tried to intake ballast water to port when three consecutive big waves continued to batter the ship causing it to take in more water. M/V Sea Merchant subsequently sank few minutes after the chief mate initiated the distress call at 4PM.

The other nine crewmen, including the body of vessel’s chief engineer, Almarito Anciano,  were rescued on Friday morning, the PCG said.